WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
With the best name ever attached to a New Orleans restaurant, the Gumbo Shop sounds, looks, and is a great place to eat the Creole classics. Not only do they cook very well here, but prices are much lower than you’d expect for a place in such a prime tourist location.
It’s not the best gumbo in town, but it is pretty good, and what it lacks in brilliance they make up for in variety. All three common versions of gumbo–seafood, chicken-andouille, and z’herbes–are here. So are red beans and rice, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, an excellent roast duck and roast chicken, and some good specials. The only thing missing is fried food: there’s none of it here.
The Gumbo Shop was opened in the 1920s by the Porpora family, reflecting the dominance of Italians in the French Quarter in those years. The Roberts family bought it in the 1960 and operated it steadily until selling it in late 2008 to Hicham Khodr, the owner of the Camellia Grill and a few other restaurants. Khodr says that he plans to open up other locations of the Gumbo Shop around town.
The restaurant isn’t as old as it looks, but the building is. One of the first new buildings after the big 1794 fire, it’s one of the oldest structures in the French Quarter. Yellowed paintings made in the 1920s on the burlap covers of cotton bales cover the walls of the dining room. Further seating is available in the carriageway and small courtyard.
»Seafood okra gumbo
Chicken andouille gumbo
Spinach and artichoke dip
»Blackened fish nuggets
»Grilled boudin with Creole mustard
»Seasonal green salad, pecan vinaigrette
»Shrimp or crawfish remoulade
Blackened chicken or catfish salad
Hot roast beef poor boy
»Sauteed shrimp poor boy
Blackened chicken or fish poor boy
»Jambalaya (sausage, shrimp, chicken)
»Red beans and rice, smoked sausage
Vegetarian dish of the day
»Crawfish and pasta in tasso cream sauce
»Fresh fish Florentine, spinach,hollandaise
Catfish topped with shrimp creole
»Chicken espagnole (half chicken, broiled, simmered in a brown sauce with mushrooms)
Grilled or blackened chicken
Filet mignon, sauteed mushrooms –
Chocolate pecan sundae
»Warm bread pudding, whiskey sauce
»Pecan pie, ice cream
Chocolate brownie pie, ice cream
FOR BEST RESULTS
This is not a restaurant to go to when the city is loaded with visitors, because they all want to come here. The middle of the afternoon is less frantic; they stay open straight through. The annual Reveillon dinner is a legendary bargain.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The chicken andouille gumbo recipe needs to be completely reworked. It’s too much like the seafood gumbo, and it ought to be different in every particular. It would also be nice if there were a comfortable place to wait for a table.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness -1
- Local Color +3
- Courtyard or deck dining
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open most holidays
- Open all afternoon
- Good for children
- No reservations